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Wacky Wednesday: Austin Cock-Blocks GameWorks

One of my favorite things to read when I was a kid were books that collected the silly laws from bygone eras that were still on the books in different states. You know the routine: In Alabama, it’s a felony to train a bear to wrestle, Delaware prohibits the sale of perfume as a beverage, and firing missiles at birds will send your ass to the big house in Florida. Just your normal, everyday stuff every community has to confront. These are amusing, but what’s funnier than the stupid ones are the unintended consequences of seemingly-rational laws. Well, funnier to read about at least–not so funny if you’re Steven Spielberg trying to open an arcade in Texas back in 1997.

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Spider-Man Continues Good Licensed Games Trek with Mysterio’s Menace on GBA – Today in History – February 7th, 2001

Anyone that has been playing games for any length of time has probably tried out a licensed game or two.  The reasons being many and varied but usually it boils down to seeing a familiar character/license amidst a sea of titles that are foreign at best.  Sometimes this works out great such as Batman on the NES or Capcom’s Marvel fighting games.  Other times it is a big mistake- X-Men on NES or Superman 64 on Nintendo 64 anyone?  Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace for the Game Boy Advance is better than some of the earlier efforts of his comic brethren.

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Tiny Toon Adventures Busts Onto Sega Genesis – Today in History – February 7th, 1993

When Sega released Sonic onto the world, it just furthered the notion that every company needed a mascot.  This was particularly true for console manufacturers- there needed to be an exclusive game series that was ONLY on one platform to entice gamers to buy into it.  This was also true for third parties though, especially those that would make versions of character based games unique for each platform.  One of the biggest third parties of the 16-bit era was Konami, bested only maybe by Capcom.  Licensing cartoon characters was a big deal in the 16-bit era also and Konami was not one to let everyone else have all of the fun.  They grabbed Tiny Toon Adventures for the Genesis and released Buster’s Hidden Treasure today in 1993.  Tiny Toon Adventures Buster’s Hidden Treasure is a homage to Sonic the Hedgehog in so many ways that it is not even funny.

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Vanishing Point Burns Rubber in Cars, Trucks and SUVs on Playstation – Today in History – February 5th, 2001

Racing games are a staple of gaming.  We saw them in the early days on the Atari 2600 in Night Driver.  We saw them propel forward in the 8-Bit days with Rad Racer on NES.  16-Bit gave us great titles like Outrun and Super Hang-On while 32-Bit heralded in the age of the “Racer” series by Namco (Ridge, Rage, R4).  Later on in the life of the Playstation Acclaim decided to get in on the racing genre with Vanishing Point (also available on Dreamcast).  While generally the Dreamcast version is accepted as the better version the Playstation version still brings a ton of cars to the fans.  It just doesn’t look as good as Sega’s last console.

Cheat Codes Book

The Five Most Badass Retro Game Cheat Codes

We’re not telling you to wreck a good relationship or risk expulsion from school, but under the right circumstances cheating can feel so damn good. By ‘under the right circumstances’ we mean ‘when playing retro games’ because, duh, we’re Retro Gaming Magazine. While there’s something to be said for plugging in a Game Shark or Pro Action Replay, the type of cheat code we’re looking at in this article is built into the game, not accessed via secondary hardware. We played with ourselves for a few hours [PLEASE reword this before publication, Michael! — Carl] and the end results lie before you. Codes made this list for unlocking things you wouldn’t normally get during play, fundamentally changing how the game worked, or broadening the scope of what we experienced as gamers. Things like holding down A+B and pressing Start to continue in Super Mario Bros., or entering ‘ZELDA’ as your name in The Legend of Zelda to access the second quest are both useful, but they’re hardly life-changing. We’re not dealing with glitches–if it wound up in the game because of a coding mistake, it might have been fun, hilarious, or cool, but it doesn’t count. The following cheat codes, on the other hand, rewrote the gaming rule books. We’re offering them in no particular order so you can fight over which one was better in the comments section. Speaking of fighting…

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Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Ends Run on Genesis on a High Note – Today in History – February 2nd, 1994

It is unclear what was going through the minds of the executives at Sega when they got the designs for Sonic the Hedgehog but it is clear that gamers loved him.  Sonic proved that gamers were tired of slow games and they wanted speed- not just in racing games but in action games too.  By the time Sega got to the third Sonic game, the whole speed and nothing but speed was getting a little thin with fans.  Sega had to change things up a bit and so they did to great fanfare of fans across the world.

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Battletech Brings Overhead Giant Robot Stomping to Sega Genesis – Today in History – February 2nd, 1994

Giant robots and gaming seem to go together quite well.  While a bigger thing in anime, giant robots hold their own in gaming.  From anime to board games to video games, giant robots kick butt and fans can’t get enough of them.  Whether it be Robotech, Voltron, Transformers or the subject of this article- Battletech- fans love giant robots.  Is it the fact that these are giant machines?  Is it the fascination with the devastation that is caused when they are used with ill intent?  Whatever it is, fans can’t get enough.  The challenge of bringing Battletech to the Sega Genesis is that this is a board game and the Genesis title is an action game.  For one, most of the stats are gone and others are hidden away from the gamer- which works great.

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The Avengers Go CGI in Arcade Game Galactic Storm – Today in History – January 31st, 1996

Marvel seems to not be able to do any wrong right now with their franchises, especially the Avengers.  The success they are experiencing with this franchise in movies is unprecedented.  There are the individual films for all of the team members, well minus Black Widow, and then there is the success of the team effort.  Back in 1996 though, it was a slightly different story for Marvel.  Their dominance in the 90’s was mostly in the gaming world while DC dominated the movies with sporadic releases here and there.  As they say though, not all games are created equally and that is true of Avengers in Galactic Storm as your mileage may vary on this one.

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Allied General Lets Players Take on World War II – Today in History – January 31st, 1996

Turn based strategy war games are not all that popular in today’s market and that kind of sucks.  I grew up playing computer games a lot in the 90’s and it seems that was the golden age for this genre.  Sure, the late 80’s and early 90’s probably had more turn based strategy war games, it was the mid to late 90’s when the genre met decent graphics rather than just stat lists.  Allied General continues on the tradition from the previously released Panzer General (which I enjoyed on the 3DO).  Get ready for stats, more stats and waiting for your next turn so you can correct previous mistakes as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Allied General for Windows.

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Brain Dead 13 FMV Game Gives You Unlimited Lives Because You Will Need Them – Today in History – January 31st, 1996

A little disclaimer in the manual for Brain Dead 13 set the pace for the rest of the game.  You are given unlimited lives and will probably need all of them to survive Brain Dead 13.  For those that do not know about Brain Dead 13, it is a Full Motion Video Game (FMV) in the style of Dragon’s Lair which was in the style of animated movies.  Brain Dead 13 puts you in, somewhat, control of Lance who is a young computer expert who is making a house call to a dilapidated castle- at night.  Nothing can go wrong with this scenario, right?

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